Fact of Life: Benefits and consequences
A great way of understanding our world comes from the ancient Greeks. As a tenet of their society, they had the concept that every action has a benefit and a consequence; meaning when something happens there is something good and something bad with it every time. For instance, going to work sucks up the whole middle part of your day (consequence.) It also, however, provides you with money (benefit.) It is then up to you, as a reasonable human being, to weigh the benefit against the consequence and find out if the root action (going to work) is worth it. This is not to say that everything breaks even. Sometimes the benefits far outweigh the consequences, like getting a raise…the money is great, and the extra responsibility is easy to handle. Conversely, if you have a car accident…the sympathy and attention gained do not outweigh the medical injures and expense.
All of life is a cost/benefit analysis. When is it worth doing something, with what level of risk, and what could be the gain should everything go right?
The Chinese have a terrific story about the unseen benefits and consequences when a farmer’s horses all ran away. The whole town expressed their sympathy, but the farmer said “Maybe, we will see.” The next day, the farmer’s son went out and found a number of wild horses worth far more than the original horses. The whole town praised the farmer’s good luck, but the farmer said “Maybe, we will see.” The day after that, the farmer’s son broke his leg trying to tame one of the wild horses. The whole town once again expressed their sympathy. The farmer said “Maybe, we will see.” The day after that, the military came to town and conscribed all the fit and able young men, of whom the farmer’s son was not one on account of his broken leg. The whole town once again praised the farmer’s good luck, and once again the farmer said “Maybe, we will see.”
Many people claim that one of the best things that ever happened to them was being fired. It gave them the excuse to start the business they always wanted, or write the book, or find a much better job. So even though a thing seems bad, there is always a benefit, just as there is always a cost for good fortune.